What is Dyslexia?

Many people think that dyslexia causes people to reverse numbers and letters or see words backward, but this is not the case. Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability affecting 10-20% of the population. It causes people to have difficulties reading, spelling, writing, and pronouncing words. Dyslexia is called a learning disability because it can make it very difficult for a student to succeed academically in a traditional classroom.

According to the International Dyslexia Association (IDA), dyslexia is “a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede the growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.”  

What are the signs of dyslexia?

Individuals with dyslexia often experience difficulties in acquiring and using written language. It is a myth that individuals with dyslexia “read backward,” although spelling can look quite jumbled at times because students have trouble remembering letter symbols for sounds and forming memories for words. Other problems experienced by people with dyslexia include the following:

  • Learning letters and their sounds
  • Organizing written and spoken language
  • Memorizing number facts
  • Reading quickly enough to comprehend
  • Persisting with and comprehending longer reading assignments
  • Spelling
  • Learning a foreign language
  • Correctly doing math operations

Dyslexia is a lifelong condition, although, with the appropriate support and education, people with dyslexia can learn to read and write well and experience great success.